Around Potsdamer Platz – a short trip to Berlin

I have the pleasure to stay in Berlin this week. Our capital is less than two hours of a train ride away from Hamburg and Daniel needs to work over there. So I decided to come, too, because I was flexible this week.

The hotel we stay at couldn’t be more central: Marriott Berlin at Potsdamer Platz. From there, it is just a short walk to Brandenburger Tor, Bundestag, a mall, Tiergarten, and many other historic sites.

Spy museum

After work I had the chance to visit the Spy Museum (Deutsches Spionagemuseum). Of course they feature several James Bond movie artifacts you can make your way through spying history, which actually dates back to the ancient Egyptians. It wouldn’t be a Berlin museum, though, without a large part dedicated to WW1, WW2 and the Cold War. The museum is suitable for children, too, and there are many interactive installations which adults can enjoy, also. The password cracker is one of the most interesting exhibits there.

Born in the late 80’s, I couldn’t help but wonder how people felt like before the Wall came down – being constantly spied at by Stasi, the Eastern German version of Secret Service or CIA. The museum was very entertaining as some of the exhibits literally looked like coming directly from a James Bond set – like a gun lipstick, a bra camera or microphones implemented in shoe soles.

The biggest display model was a “Trabi”, the one and only Eastern German car, Trabant. It was equipped with infrared sensors in the front-seat passenger’s door which could, parked in front of a house, sense if there were people inside the building. If not, Stasi could enter the house easily and bug the whole house…

Be sure to plan an hour for the guided tour (add 8 EUR to your entry ticket) and allow up to one more hour to do the “Ocean’s 11”-like laser challenge.

Extra tip: Become a Facebook fan of Deutsches Spionagemuseum to get 2 EUR off of your entry ticket (regular: 12 EUR for adults).

If that is just not enough 20th century history for you, you see signs of the German division right in front of the museum, or a stone’s throw away at Potsdamer Platz. A line made of cobblestones (see one of the pictures below) shows the city’s visitors where the wall ran from 1961 to 1989. At some places you can even see and touch preserved parts of the wall, like at Potsdamer Platz.

Berlin is just packed with history

Wandering around a little more, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews in Europe is adjacent to Brandenburger Tor. The memorial will give you chills, even in bright daylight, when you enter and find yourself lost in the casket-sized blocks. I have uploaded some impressions which you can see below.

Coincidentally, just in short distance, the German parliament, Bundestag, hosts the yearly Ceremony of Remembrance for the Victims of National Socialism today. If I hadn’t been working I could have had a chance to go, as Bundestag regularly is open to visitors. The glass dome alone is worth it, but witnessing such an event, hearing contemporary witnesses or even one of the last survivors of Auschwitz speak, it becomes more impressive and memorable.

// spy museum: Deutsches Spionagemuseum

// German parliament: Bundestag

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *